President of two trade unions, Health Services Trade Union Alliance and the Government Nursing Officers Association, Saman Ratnapriya yesterday complained to the Human Rights Commission that he had been denied a basic right granted to every trade union leader and thereby the government had violated the Constitution of the country and the International Labour Law which guaranteed trade union rights.
Many trade union representatives from various sectors joined him to submit a petition to the Human Rights Commission seeking his release from regular work to attend to trade union work full time.
Ratnapriya told The Island that he had been granted that right from 2004 to 2010, but since then he had been denied it.
He said he had filed a case in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) at the end of 2011 and the ILO had given its verdict on March 25, 2013 in his favour.
“So far 11 months have elapsed, but the government has denied me my trade union right which the Constitution of the country grants to any trade union leader. But other trade union leaders have been granted that right.
“Procedurally, it should be recommended by the Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilake, but he had not sent those documents for approval to the Public Administration secretary and the Cabinet.”
“If he failed to win his right even after submitting a petition to the HRC, we will resort to trade union action.”